As the political debate over the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) continues, schools are already implementing the standards in classrooms all across the country. Many teachers, parents and students are focusing on how to adjust to the new higher expectations of the CCSS. Here's a typical comment that we got from one of our parents:
Our child’s first report card aligned with CCSS was dismal and we’re trying to figure out what to do. Can you help?
Our first message to this parent and to all parents and families is that you are not alone. For students with learning and attention issues, and really for all students, CCSS represent a big step up in expectations and rigor. This is a time of adjustment as schools figure out how to develop and implement curriculum that will align to the standards. It always takes time to learn new things and this is no exception.
But saying that CCSS are new is not an excuse. Schools have a responsibility to support kids with learning and attention issues and help them succeed. Assuming that your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), here are four suggested questions for tackling that bad report card.
Should you ask for an IEP Team meeting?
As a parent, you have the right to request an IEP Team meeting at any time. The first question you should ask is whether your child’s current IEP makes sense in light of the new standards.
Is your child’s IEP aligned to the new standards?
If you want your child to do well in school, you have to make sure that the goals in his IEP align with what he is expected to know. If your child’s IEP is not aligned to CCSS, then it’s time for a discussion with the IEP Team.
Are your child's teachers trained in CCSS?
Teacher training is absolutely essential to your child’s success. If your child’s teachers don’t understand the new standards, they can’t be expected to teach your child well. Both special and general education teachers should be trained in CCSS.
What’s the school’s plan to help your child succeed?
This is the most important question. Schools must provide your child with a free and appropriate public education, individualized for your child’s unique needs. To fulfill that obligation, they need to have a game plan for getting your child on track.
These aren’t the only questions you should ask, but they will get you started on turning around that bad report card. For more guidance on what you should be looking for, take a look at our suggestions about what to ask schools. Also stay tuned in the next months as we bring you more content and guidance on the new CCSS assessments and how to handle things like accommodations going forward.